Building trust with homeowners is a skill that every house sitter needs to secure great house sitting jobs. Trust doesn’t happen on its own, communication is crucial.
Open and honest communication between a homeowner and a house sitter is the first major step towards building a positive relationship where the trust goes both ways. The better the communication between a sitter and an owner, the more chance of a successful house sit experience for everyone.
A homeowner is looking to trust someone to take care of their house and pets while they’re away. As a house sitter, it’s your job to reassure them that you can do this in a professional manner. This means using friendly, but also direct and concise language. Generally speaking, think of your first messages to a homeowner like a job interview. You want to show your best self. Once you receive cues from the owner that a more relaxed communication style might be well received, then you can allow your communication to reflect that. You can also use the tone of the homeowner ad to guide your initial communication with them.
If you initiate communication with a homeowner, the length of your first message can offer many impressions about you. If a message is too short, it could lead the homeowner to think you may have not read their listing, or may be sending generic messages to many homeowners. However, no one wants a message response that reads like War and Peace.
It’s important you find a middle ground where you can say enough about yourself and your experience to make them want to find out more, but in a clear, concise way.
You can always go into more detail later once the owner asks you for more.
Here are a few ‘middle ground’ suggestions for your initial message to a homeowner:
In your initial online conversations with a homeowner, make sure you reply as promptly as you reasonably can. Quick responses are an easy way to show you’re making the homeowner a priority, and also indicate to the homeowner that you’re likely to respond promptly and proactively to any urgent messages during the prospective house sit. If you respond to messages in a professional manner from the outset, the owner will feel assured that you will respond in the same way while doing a house sit. If you are busy and can’t write a detailed reply for a day or two, flick the owner a quick message to confirm that you have received their message and that you’ll respond as soon as you can. It’s all about being honest and open so they know when to expect your correspondence.
Whenever the homeowner mentions certain house sitting responsibilities that are very important to them, let them know you hear them and you fully understand their concerns. This can be done in many ways, some of which include: repeating back what they’ve shared, expressing an empathetic comment to validate their concern, or sharing how you’ve handled similar homeowner concerns in the past. Homeowners can be concerned about different aspects of a house sit, including: aspects of home security, property care during severe weather, administering pet medication, and triggers for problematic behaviors in pets.
The owner needs to know that the house sitter has taken their concerns seriously and can manage any issues that may arise while taking care of their home and pets.
Inquisitiveness shows you’re genuinely interested in understanding what the house sit responsibilities entail, which will help you and the homeowner determine if you’re a good fit for the job. Be proactive and request to chat on the phone or through a video call. When connecting live, it’s really helpful to have a document open for recording information during the chat. Let the owner know that you are taking notes for future reference. A lot of information can be shared in calls, and having a detailed document will give you an opportunity to easily remember the details shared and to see if there are any follow-up questions you may want to ask. You can use the in-house message system for any follow up questions which means that the answers are easily recorded and at your disposal if you need them at any time while on the house sit.
Thank you House sitters America! I will renewing soon to begin my 4th year with your website and one of your affiliated websites Aussie House Sitters. My very first sit with you was 3 months in Santa Cruz California where I started writing my now published first novel. I have been all across the states meeting amazing people and pets. I am thankful and grateful to have found you and feel blessed with all the wonderful experiences I have had. Fred